Central govt's role in CE election constitutional

Updated: 2017-03-02 07:14

(HK Edition)

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Central govt's role in CE election constitutional

Ever since the race for the city's top job started, there have been unfair accusations leveled at the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong SAR. There have even been suggestions that the central government is attempting to influence the election. It sounds as if there were a "black hand" behind the scenes pulling strings and fixing the race!

But those who have made such accusations either have not read the Basic Law or have purposely chosen to misinterpret it. To set the facts straight, Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam Chi-yuen enlightened the legislators as well as the public on Wednesday in the Legislative Council on the Chief Executive election and the appointment of the CE by the central government. Indeed, CE Leung Chun-ying said something similar a few days ago.

Tam noted that the Basic Law states explicitly that the selection of CE is not an issue the SAR government can manage on its own. It is the central government's constitutional obligation to exercise its rights and responsibilities on the issue.

He stressed that since the CE is accountable to the central government, the post must be appointed by Beijing in order to reflect state sovereignty. The central government's power of appointing the CE is substantive.

"Where necessary, the central government may state its views on the factors to be considered regarding the appointment of the CE through various channels," noted Tam.

During an interview with a news magazine, Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council Wang Guangya provided an example of the central government exercising its "rights and responsibilities" when he listed the central government's expectations of the next CE.

The concern the central government has shown for the election comes not only from its rightful powers as stated in the Basic Law - it also has genuine and real concerns about Hong Kong people. Their future clearly lies with the next CE, who will lead them safely through the difficult challenges of the future.

But the opposition camp is apparently trying to undermine the fairness of the election by forming a coalition called "Democrats 300+". Through this coalition, they are allocating nominations and votes in the election and interfering in nominations and voting by their members.

The opposition has been trying to deny the authority and constitutional powers of the central government in the CE election. They are misleading the community into believing the central government must adopt a completely hands-off attitude. Anything that central government officials say about the election, the opposition wrongly claim is jeopardizing the "One Country, Two Systems" principle.

The CE election concerns not only the SAR but also the central government. Therefore, it must be viewed from this perspective so that the election can proceed in a fair and proper manner.

(HK Edition 03/02/2017 page7)